Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, announced Tuesday that Valparaiso
business owner Cathy Brown will replace her appointment Jesse Harper on the
County Convention, Recreation and Visitor’s Commission.
Brown co-owns Valpo
Velvet ice cream shop with her husband Mike Brown and has been involved with
the improvements at Valplayso Park.
“She’s a lifelong
Porter County resident and I think she will make a great addition,” Blaney
Harper had been
recently reappointed as Blaney’s PCCRVC representative but submitted a
letter in February saying he is stepping down to focus more time on law
school and his campaign for state representative.
at their meeting Tuesday also received a presentation from PCCRVC Executive
Director Lorelei Weimer highlighting the strides made in 2015. The Indiana
Dunes Visitor Center saw nearly a 15 percent increase in visitors last year
as did the PCCRVC website.
The Dunes remain
Porter County’s number one tourist attraction, Weimer said, but progress
continues on getting visitors to explore other parts of the county.
President John Evans, R-North, said he is proud of the strong rapport the
tourism bureau has with the National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park.
“Everybody works in
harmony. It really is a great place,” he said.
A member of the
audience, Joe Kusiak, encouraged the PCCRVC to reach out to non-profit
groups in the County that have events that attract visitors and find ways to
Later in the
meeting, Commissioner Jeff Good, R-Center, pushed for using $1 million in
the County’s Major Moves fund to pave more roads this year.
essentially double the amount this year that the County spends on paving,
bringing the amount to $2 million. Good said because the cost of petroleum
has significantly decreased, the County can now “get the most bang for its
buck” in getting roads paved.
Evans reminded the
audience that Major Moves money comes from the sale of the Indiana Toll Road
and Porter County is one of the few counties that held on to their funds for
saving rather than spending.
“I think it’s a
very worthwhile idea,” Evans added.
According to County
Auditor Vicki Urbanik, the County has $6.4 million of Major Moves money
To use the extra $1
million, a request will have to be made to the County Council.
The discussion came
up after the Commissioners approved bids for asphalt from Walsh & Kelly and
Reith-Riley Construction and for liquid bituminous, and Bit Mat Products and
Asphalt Materials Inc.
of DLZ Indiana informed the Commissioners that the technical review
committee will be scoring the proposals for an animal shelter submitted by
the top three firms: Core, Epoc, Millies and Abonmarche; Gairup/M2Ke design;
and Larson-Danielson Construction Company Inc.
next meeting on May 10 is when the committee will give the scores and the
projected construction costs. The winning proposal is expected to be chosen
later in May.
The new design
build process is expected to bring down overall construction costs,
“You’re getting the
best value by seeking qualifications and the best value in this next
process,” he told the Commissioners. “We’re not moving ground yet by we are
In another Shelter
matter, Facilities Director Matt Stechley sought bids again on tree removal
after asking three responding firms to give prices on manageable wood cuts.
The company that came in the lowest bid was Glovier Tree Services, Stechley
said, which the Commissioners approved.
Getting ready for
The Porter County
Fair Board plans to put in somewhere between $250,000 and $300,000 of
improvements at the fairgrounds before the fair starts on July 21, board
president Matt Wellsand told the Commissioners.
Wellsand said his
board is looking to “patch up” the campground area, refurbish the Buggy
Wheel Pavilion, make various upgrades to the show arenas such as adding
lighting the to horse arena, installing glass doors at the Expo Center
entrance and possibly installing air conditioning for the 4-H Building.
this year include acts Chris Janson, Cole Swindell and Alabama. “Ticket
sales are doing well,” Wellsand said.
Good asked that the
fair board wait on the campground improvements for the next 45 days or so
until the County can “bring up” water and sewer for the new animal shelter
located northwest of the fairgrounds. Wellsand said it should not be a
Auditor Vicki Urbanik told the Commissioners that she will be hosting a
public workshop on Friday morning from 9 a.m. until noon on how tax
abatements work and how the county is impacted. Also, next week she will be
displaying the entries for the “Saving money is É.” art contest around the
auditor’s office. The contest is for students in grades K-12 who can use a
piggy bank design or an original drawing to think creatively about saving
-- Members of the
Kankakee Valley Historical Society said they were successful in receiving a
$15,000 grant from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs for restoring
the historic Collier Lodge near the Kankakee River in Pleasant Twp. The
grant was supported by the Commissioners.
“Thank you, thank
you,” KVHS member Mary Hodson told the Commissioners. “This is the first
step in being able to restore the (Lodge) to its former glory. We see it as
a keystone to south (Porter) County.”
-- Stechley said
the power shutdown at the Jail/911 center will be May 13 while crews
troubleshoot the jail’s main generator. An extra generator will be used for
$5,759 to power the 911 center and Stechley said he will look in the near
future to recommend new backup batteries. In another maintenance matter,
Stechley recommended getting a new sound system put in for the
Commissioner’s Chambers at the County Administration Building.
Commissioners gave permission for the Valparaiso Arts Committee to place one
of their sculptures this year in front of the County Administration Building
and at the Porter County Museum as part of the Committee’s yearly Art Walk.
The sculptures will be installed in May.
-- A polling place
change was made for the Center Twp. 17 precinct from the Indiana National
Guard Armory to Hampton Inn & Suites.